Liverpool legend John Barnes says that Daniel Sturridge was right to hit back at his critics in the way that he did on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old has endured an injury-ravaged last 18 months on Merseyside, starting just 11 Premier League games since the end of the 2013-14 campaign.
Nevertheless, Sturridge has recently courted criticism for his reluctance to play through the pain barrier, leading to a passionate rant from the player himself during a press conference for the Reds' Europa League clash with Augsburg this evening.
The former Manchester City youth slammed the suggestions about his commitment, noting that it was 'astonishing and disappointing' to hear his dedicated to football questioned.
Someone who does not doubt Sturridge's hunger to play is Barnes, who believes that the England international's cautious approach is justified given his lengthy injury history.
He told the Liverpool Echo: “I would always do that with Daniel. It’s maybe not a typical way of looking at things, but with Daniel’s history with injuries we have to leave it up to him to tell us when he feels he’s ready to play.
“I believe he’s hungry enough. He’s a young boy who wants to play football. But he has to do it for himself.
"If he says he’s injured, then he’s injured. We can’t tell him otherwise. Daniel isn’t necessarily different to anybody else, but football is different now. Phil Neal played for six years without missing a game in the 1970s and 80s, but he’d have missed a game in the modern era, for certain."
Sturridge scored on his first Premier League start for two months when Liverpool thumped Aston Villa 6-0 almost two weeks ago - his third league goal in four starts this season.
He is expected to spearhead the attack when Jurgen Klopp's side face Manchester City in Sunday's Capital One Cup final at Wembley.